Medical Q&As

Ulcerative colitis

I have had ulcerative colitis for the past 8 years with 2 periods of remission lasting for up to 6 months. So far no medication seems to work. Should my doctor be discussing surgery?

Surgery is usually avoided in the case of ulcerative colitis if at all possible. It is indicated if the disease is particularly aggressive and is totally unresponsive to all medical interventions. It is also performed if complications have developed. These complications could involve gut perforation, bleeding, and strictures in the bowel or fistula formation. If surgery needs to be performed it may need to be very radical and could result in total removal of the colon with a permanent ileostomy. You have clearly suffered a great deal and maybe you feel you have had enough. Discuss the matter with your doctor but the basic principle underlying the management of this disease is that the medical options are the preferred line of treatment in the uncomplicated case.